Delaware’s first city is typically celebrated for its architecture, historic district, small-town charm, state park and ferry terminal. But there’s even more to Lewes than you may already know—you just need to know where to look.
1. Let’s start with beer because breweries are booming at the beach. One of the most popular hubs for hopheads, however, is not a brewpub. It’s Mr. P’s, a restaurant featuring wood-fired pizza in an unassuming strip center on Kings Highway. The restaurant opened in 2000, but beer didn’t become one of its claims to fame until Rick Thomas purchased it in 2007. The restaurant now has up to 19 beers on tap, and in the summer, only locally made craft beers are on the draft menu. Sit at the bar, order a pint or a flight and watch the staff make your pizza. But bring cash: Mr. P.’s does not accept credit cards.
2. Within walking distance of the pizzeria is The Brush Factory on Kings, located in—what else?—a former brush factory. The shop has sections for nearly 20 vendors, but the overall theme is home décor—particularly beachy home décor. It’s owned by Christine Chura, an area native and seasoned retailer, and her husband, Mark.
3. In the way of a small town, Mark Chura is the principal of Chura and Associates and executive director of the Fort Miles Historical Association, which installed a museum in Battery 519. The bunker was part of the World War II Army base that once occupied Cape Henlopen State Park. The association has done a masterful job of assembling the types of guns that once stood on the property, including “Mighty Mo,” a 16-inch gun from the USS Missouri. It’s an imposing figure on the Great Dune but not the surprise. Inside the museum is an 800-square-foot gallery, which opened in May 2016. For the most part, it focuses on the works of Howard Schroeder, who served at Fort Miles and stayed in Lewes, local resident Abraxas Hudson and Mary Marshall. The gallery is open during the scheduled tours.
4. Every resort town needs a bookstore, and Biblion fills the niche in downtown Lewes. This shop features secondhand books in artful arrangements, and the round table near the door holds books on local subject matter or by local authors. The fun factor here comes from the fanciful gift items, including magnet/finger puppets that salute famous figures, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Plato and Joan of Arc. Check out the small soaps, including Jane Austen’s “Suds & Sensability” and Lady MacBeth’s guest soap.
5. Resorts towns also need candy, but Edie Bees is far from a taffy shop. It’s more reminiscent of a Parisian chocolatier, with fine confections sourced from the best of the best. The whimsy here comes from more than 200 carefully arranged apothecary jars of candies. Visit often because owner Leisa Berlin changes the tabletop displays to suit the seasons.